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How I got introduced to website hosting
Before I started a virtual consultancy, a
bit LOT of freelancing ensued! At first, I mostly helped small businesses with event planning, day-of coordination feats, sales, etc. Following that, the event planning took a (digital) turn which started to incorporate social media, website hosting, and a few other things.
The Earlier Days of Digital
However, in the earlier days of social media, you could only access your profile(s) via an actual computer. So when helping companies “way back” then, if you knew how to use social media, the assumption was that you knew EVERYTHING about computers too. Thankfully, that led to some great discoveries!
During one of those discoveries, I learned about website hosting.
How I learned about web hosting
One day I went to add some social links on a company’s website, and to my surprise, the site was offline (it crashed the night before). When I notified the owner, he was already aware and directed me to another website where we had to pay $75 to get a backup copy of the site uploaded to WordPress.
The weird thing was, WordPress ran his website, but this company (who had the backup) had a different URL. So how could THEY have a copy of this site and also be able to upload it?!
(Queue: TOTAL CONFUSION!)
Now, I had experience WordPress and knew that you could manually download website copies weekly. So why on Earth would you pay $75 for something like that?
Asking questions can save the world
SO I asked, “Why are you paying someone to keep a copy of your website when you can do that yourself (manually) via WordPress?“
Thankfully, the owner loved teaching us new things and explained that he used a website host for a multitude of things, but mostly as an extra layer of security. He also mentioned that you could use them for site monitoring, website backups and access to other tools.
The additional tools/services can help with anything from SEO and extra storage, to improving security, company emails and more! On top of that, he also mentioned said that they don’t usually charge for every service, but since the problem was a bit more technical, we could have them take care of it (for a fee).
Thanks to a small assumption and simple question, my universe was altered FOREVER! #ButterflyEffect
Anyway, over time, I learned even more about website hosts, and how imperative they are for websites and businesses.
» Fast forward » to the present, and I’m writing this blog to help you learn the ropes of why you need a website host, too!
We bsite Hosting Companies Offer 101
As mentioned above, website hosting services are helpful for many things. Here’s a general list of how they can help:
- Technical Support
- Free (Company) Email Accounts
- More Website Options (themes, installations, website speed tools, etc.)
- File Management (File Manager, FTP, site backups, etc.)
Ultimately, you use them to help monitor and manage one site or multiple ones in conjunction with a CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress, Joomla, etc. They offer many additional options, plus access to resources that you wouldn’t otherwise have. The whole goal is to make managing your website(s) more comfortable. Plus, it never hurts to have additional support.
Another thing, when choosing a host, it comes down to what your company needs. There isn’t necessarily a “perfect formula” for selecting one. Some hosting plans are cheap, while more extensive sites cost more money to maintain just because of their sheer size. I’ll clarify more below.
SO is website hosting really THAT important?
You bet! It’s even more imperative if you’re planning on growing your site, implementing e-commerce and need a go-to when you aren’t able to afford a full-time developer.
Ultimately, not every host offers the same services, nor does every small biz need the same thing. So to help simplify things, we’ll review each host based on the list above and create a nifty reference sheet.
Side notes: all of the below hosts have a fee. Why? Check out this article on free web hosting vs. paid. Also, the below pricing ranges we’re pulled on 5/21/19 and are based on shared web hosting plans (minus Shopify since they’re strictly e-commerce). To add, I chose shared hosting plans because they’re usually the most affordable for smaller businesses on a budget.
Lastly, this article is for informational purposes only and shouldn’t be interpreted as a ranking list. They all have their perks!
Let’s get to it!
Top 6 Hosts for Small Business Websites
Bluehost has been around since 2003, has +2M users, and a team of +750 that offer 24/7 tech support! One thing that makes them stand out is their vast list of comprehensive tools! It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an expert, they strive to make it easy! Plus, they offer a secure, easy-to-use live chat that doesn’t make you wait forever (like *ahem* the utility company).
Bluehost has a bunch of web hosting options! Their shared hosting prices start at $7.99 per month and go up in 4 tiered levels from there.
Creating an E-Commerce site? Already have one but looking for a different host?
Shopify might be your one-stop shop because if you already have an account, a hosting plan is included! However, take note that Shopify offers e-commerce hosting, not necessarily Shared, VPS or Dedicated. So if you have a site that doesn’t sell anything, check out the other website hosting companies. If you’re planning to sell stuff in the future, then check out Shopify. They’re the current leader in e-commerce hosting!
Shopify has three different e-commerce hosting options that range from $29, $79 or $299 per month.
HostGator was founded in Oct. 2002 and in under four months had +100 customers, and by 2013 they had +400,000! To add, they’re currently hosting +9M domains! There’s a reason why so many people choose HostGator! ↓
“Every web hosting plan comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee, 99.9% uptime guarantee, and is fully guaranteed by the CEO. If you ever have a problem with the regular support, ask that your ticket be assigned to Adam and he will personally take the time to give you the VIP attention that you deserve.”HostGator
Ultimately, HostGator is pretty straightforward, and they offer a few different web hosting packages! Their hosting prices start at $7.99 per month and go up from there.
DreamHost has been rockin’ it since 1997. The best way to describe them? Customer-centric (look at their reviews!), lots of love for opensource AND they have +400K happy customers! Not only that, but they’re always striving to innovate to make your user experience even better, and they have a 100% uptime guarantee.
DreamHost has a bunch of web hosting options! Their shared hosting prices start at $3.95 per month (for a 1-year plan) and go up from there.
SiteGround has been around since 2004 and serving +500K domains with their ever-growing staff of +400! They’re also proud because they focus on in-house solutions that sometimes even lead to new products that improve security, uptime, and speed! Cool, huh?
SiteGround has a bunch of web hosting options! Their shared hosting prices start at $11.95 per month and go up from there.
GreenGeeks has been around since 2008 and is quickly becoming the eco-friendly force in the web hosting world! They currently host over 300K websites and counting. Although they might not be as huge as some of the other web hosts, they don’t lack experience. Plus, you might be surprised by how streamlined, innovative, and user-friendly it is to use their services. Here’s a link to our GreenGeeks review.
Just like many of the other web hosts out there, they offer multiple tiered plans and have tons of add-ons. Their shared hosting prices start at $9.95 per month and go up from there.
So there you have it, an intro to website hosting and why it’s crucial for business! If you need additional how-tos and the like, we have a whole section dedicated to website optimization tips!
Disclosure: Some of the above links are affiliate links, which means, at no additional cost to you, UGH! Media LLC earns a commission if you click through one of them and make a purchase. Any affiliate link above is noted with an asterisk (*).
Although we specialize in digital solutions, as of Jan. 1, 2019, we no longer accept individual service requests. However, we do take inquiries/questions (see Contact Us page for more info).
Please note, this post does not establish a UGH! Media LLC-client relationship. It is for informational purposes only. For additional info, please refer to our disclaimer.